Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Inspires Your Creativity?

For the majority of my life, I considered myself the least creative person on the planet.  What changed that?  In 2003, my very good friend, Marilyn Myers, taught me the basics of a new craft, beading.  Very quickly I discovered that making beaded jewelry speaks to my soul in a way that no other craft ever has (and I’ve tried most of them!).  In the ensuing months and years, I read every beading magazine and book I could get my hands on.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the designers who have generously shared their art in so many publications.

As I learned new beading techniques, I practiced them until I was relatively confident.  Then a couple of years ago, it snuck up on me.  Suddenly I found myself envisioning jewelry designs while I was in the shower, while lying in bed trying to fall asleep at night, or while riding my bike to my little bead shop.  I can’t draw my way out of a paper bag, but I keep a sketch book these days to document ideas while they’re fresh. 

At times, when I first envision a design, I’m able to clearly identify the source of inspiration, and at other times, ideas seem to come from out of the blue.   Yet I believe that all creative ideas generally have a source of inspiration, even if we’re unaware of it.

I’ve had a design idea percolating in my head for the past several days, ever since I picked up this gift card tin at Dollar Tree:

Every design I envision expands on the polka-dot theme in multiple ways.  I find it kindof interesting that my brain doesn’t focus so much on the palette, for example, but instead focuses on the pattern.  I wonder why that is?  I also wonder what process leads my inner muse to demand that I cut circle-shaped discs from the sheet metal of this tin, and use them as links or dangles.  Why doesn’t she, for example, encourage me to cut a trapezoid shape that would be used as a pendant?  Is it because I’m not creative enough?  Is my poor, overtaxed brain stuck in a circular rut?

I also wonder if I would be equally inspired by a photograph of a handful of marbles scattered on the floor.  What about a table full of cakes for the cake walk at a school carnival?  My mother’s button basket?  An advertisement for tires?  What determines which visuals (or sounds, textures, tastes, or aromas) are destined to inspire a jewelry design?

Creative inspiration is still very much a mystery to me, albeit a mystery I enjoy the fruits of!  I’d like to know what sorts of things inspire you as well as your thoughts on determining the source of creative inspiration.

Artbeads just announced a “What Inspires You?” necklace beading contest:  They have prizes in two categories and entries are open through November 22, 2010.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the entries and inspires other artists.

I hope your muse is with you, and that you have a very beadiful day!


  1. This is a fantastic post. I love your approach to things! I was thinking of cutting circles from that as well but making sure that the bubbles are cut off and floating through them. But I think I like you trapezoid idea even better! And all this from a dollar store find. Such a gift you have for finding inspiration everywhere, something that I am very passionate about.
    Thank you for sharing your inspiration.
    Enjoy the day!

  2. Erin, thank you!!! You don't know how much it means to me to hear that. And I'm so glad SOMEone is reading my blog! ;^D

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